Friday, November 30, 2007

24 Nights of Christmas Part 1

“Behold a virgin, shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Carol: Angels We Have Heard on High

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it.

When Della finished her cry, she attended to her cheeks with a powder puff. She stood by the window and looked out duly. Tomorrow would be Christmas day, and she had only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling-- something just a bit near to being worthy of being owned by Jim.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the looking glass. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs’ in which they took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair.

So now Della’s hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown water. She did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood while a tear or two splash on the worn red carpet. On went her old brown jacket. On went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mme. Sofronie. Hair Goods of all Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting.

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair.” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars.’ said Madame, lifting the mass with a practiced hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, the next two hours were rosy as she ransacked the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum watch chain, simple in design, properly proclaiming it’s value by substance alone and not by ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of the Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. Quietness and value-- the description applied to both.

Twenty-one dollar they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the eighty-seven cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home she got out her curling irons and went to work. Within forty minutes her head was covered in tiny close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, critically, and carefully.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me--- But what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?”

Jim was never late. Della held the watch chain I her hand. She heard his steps on the stair and turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying little silent prayers about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please, God, make him think I’m still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in a closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family. H needed a new overcoat and was without gloves.

Jim’s eyes were fixed on Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her.

“Jim darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold it because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again--you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say ’Marry Christmas!’ Jim and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a beautiful nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, as if he had not come to that fact yet.

“Cut off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well anyhow? I’m me without my hair, aren’t I?”

Jim looked around the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?”

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “it’s sold and gone, I tell you. Be good to me, for it went for you.”

Out of his trance Jim seemed to quickly wake. He enfolded Della in his arms.

Jim then drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table. “Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there is anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or shampoo that would make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you’ll see why you had me going for a while at first.”

White fingers tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy, and then alas! A quick feminine change to tears and wails, necessitating all of Jim’s comforting powers.

For there lay The Combs--the set of combs that Della had wanted for so long. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell with jeweled rims--just the shade to wear with the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had yearned for them without the least hope of possession. And now they were hers--but the hair was gone.

She hugged them to her, and at length was able to look up with a smile and say: “My hair grows fast, Jim.”

And then Della leaped up and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The precious metal seems to flash with a reflection of her own bright spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at your watch a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hand under the back of his head and smiled.

“Dell,” he said, “Let’s put our Christmas present away and keep ‘em awhile.

They’re too nice to use just now. I sold the watch to get the money for your combs.

And now, suppose you put dinner on.”

Eight dollars a week or a million a year--What is the difference?

The Magi, as you know, were the wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in the last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the wisest. Everywhere they are the wisest. They are the Magi.

Cute overload

Somehow, after an overabundance of dresses this summer, I found myself looking in Emma's closet this past Sunday and seeing exactly one warm winter dress. I have been on the prowl this week, and with Gymboree having an extra 20% off some items, I finally decided to order her a cute pink dress, with matching silver glitter shoes, of course! (sorry about the picture quality!)

Sophie needed a new dress too... isn't it adorable?

On sale, combined with my 20% off coupon meant a very happy shopper!

Now to the reason I bothered to post... After I had paid for my items, the screen popped up with a note to check out Gymboree's sister site Crazy8. Looks like they are starting an "Old Navy" type of shop a la GAP. Lots of cute stuff, although I can't vouch for the quality. Maybe when Spring rolls around...

In the meantime, if any of you have experience at crazy8, let us know!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Only 4 shopping days left...

("Christmas Rush" by Norman Rockwell)

That's right... I like to get all my holiday shopping done before December. When Emma was born (almost 4 years ago!), I knew I would need to get everything done for Christmas before she was born. Ever since then, I have made a goal to be done by December 1st so I can enjoy December... relaxing with the kids (and Elliott when he is in town) and doing lots of baking!

It looks like I will definitely make my goal this year... I have one "yummy" gift left to order, and then I can begin to savor the wonderful Christmas season as it is meant to be... thinking of Christ, and his wonderful gift of everlasting life.

In one of our wards in Southern California, the Relief Society handed out notebooks with a scripture/carol/story for each day of December leading up to Christmas. I plan to share those with my family throughout the month of December. As my gift to all of you, I will also post them here on my blog (the night before they are to be read), so you can share them with your families too.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Deck the Halls

The evening after Thanksgiving is our appointed day to begin our Christmas decorating. We have collected ornaments from all over the world as we have travelled, and we enjoy reminiscing as we hang them on the tree.

This year we had to remind the children to hang the breakable ornaments up high on the tree,
but despite our best efforts, Sophie still had fun undecorating for us!

Sophie also decided that it was the perfect time to begin walking... She practically couldn't stop herself!

(had to include this one... look at that cute bum!!)
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My doll quilt arrived!

I was so excited to collect the mail today and see that the quilt made for me had arrived!

I love it!

Louann chose the perfect fabrics and color scheme for my home!

It is a beautiful quilt, and I am truly grateful for the time and energy she spent making this wonderful quilt for me!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

uhm, what did you say?

Sophie (who I will remind you isn't even 13 months yet!), just dropped my ring on the floor and said, "oops-a-daisy"

I about fell out of my chair!

She doesn't really say momma yet (okay, maybe once). I mean, the words were clear, and well, I wish I had a video camera. The other day she dropped something, I said, "uh-oh", and then she said, "uh-oh", and Elliott and I couldn't believe it, but it was copying. This time she said it on her own.

Okay, I'm picking my jaw up off the floor now!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Poetry for a Sunday Morning

by Andrew
Flower Mantis
Waiting for food
Wanting their food to come right now

by Andrew
Red, green, and blue
Used in paintings back then
Things you want to put together

by Andrew
Golden Mayfly
Fluttering gallantly
I'm wishing I could catch one now

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Four Seasons Quilt Swap

With my doll quilt sent off, I decided to participate in Supermom's Winter Quilt Swap, part of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. I can't wait until I found out my partner's preferences... I already have several ideas forming.

You can see some of the quilts made in the Fall Quilt Swap here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chess Champion

This semester Andrew is in the Chess Club at his school. A couple of Saturdays ago he had the opportunity to play in a USCF tournament at an area school. The were 5 rounds all together, and the first round was a tight game against a boy who is rated fairly high. Andrew lost at the last minute. The second two rounds didn't go quite as well, but in the 4th and 5th rounds he beat his opponents. The last game was especially hard, against another boy who is rated in the 600's. Andrew beat him quite handily, and in doing so, helped him team win 2nd place for their age division.

Waiting for his second round to start.

The beginning of his 4th game.

Each of the boys who helped bring their team to victory get to bring the trophy home for the week... This is our week!

The last time...

I have been thinking about "lasts" a lot lately... Probably because Sophie is most likely our last child... so anything associated with her childhood is the "last". She is still nursing even though she is over a year, and I wondered how much longer it will last. I am not ready to give her up yet, but I don't want to end up as the British mother I saw on TV the other day who was still nursing her 8 year old!!!

Some things I will be sad to be done with (toothless babies anyone?), others, like the 6 (!) shots Sophie had to get for her immunizations today, I won't miss.

I think this post does a wonderful job of describing why "lasts" are so hard...

Monday, November 12, 2007

More blocks done!

These double four-patch blocks were made for a block swap on the quilting forum. Most of the fabrics are civil war-type reproductions. These are nine blocks I am keeping for myself. The other forty blocks are being sent on to the hostess to swap out with blocks from other quilters. Can't wait to see the quilt when all the blocks come back. It will be very scrappy and antique looking!

There is another swap in January, with the same blocks, but a reverse colorway... dark trail, cream for everything else, which I will be joining too. Should make a nice sized quilt by the time all the blocks are put together.
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Tom Turkey

What do candy wrappers, ribbon, glitter, buttons, and a turkey have in common?

Meet Tom Turkey...

Ethan and his classmates were given the assignment to decorate turkeys that will be used to decorate for their upcoming Thanksgiving presentation. The only rule was that the students could not use pens, pencils or crayons to decorate. We sat down tonight, and Ethan started looking around the kitchen... this is what he came up with. Candy wrappers??? He is SO creative! Hard to see, but there is also a straw wrapper glued to the neck of the turkey. This is all his own design, as you can probably tell by the fact that there is a dinosaur walking on grass in the middle of the turkey.
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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Doll Quilt, finished

I finally finished the doll quilt... The pinwheels are 3 inches, so not too terribly small. It went together fairly easily. Since I used batiks, and they are harder to quilt through (due to the denseness of the fabric), I machine quilted for the first time. A simple stitch-in-the-ditch... so as not to detract from the fabrics.
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Look what came in the mail today...

A week ago I saw this wonderful cotton fabric and I knew I had to have it!
Thus began my saga. It was practically impossible to find, leading me to wonder why the magazine was featuring it... but I persevered and finally found it in these two colorways that I immediately ordered. I haven't decided what to make with it yet, but I am in the mood for something whimsical!

Along those same lines, I found the fabrics above, and decided they would make fantastic snuggle quilts for the basement. Always nice to have something to cuddle in, and the boys are beginning to grow out of the quilts my mom and I made for then when they were wee little lads!

This "Woodland Santa" was lucky enough to find a home in my shopping cart too... Don't know why, but I just love him!

Although Halloween is over, I had to grab this cute trick-or-treating fabric too...

And this witch fabric is going to be the backing for a Halloween quilt block swap I am involved in... a knitting witch, who can pass that by???

Friday, November 02, 2007

Emma's ultimatums

Forget the fact that Emma is eating cheetos (it was a special treat she got to choose at the market yesterday), and that I let her have them before her sandwich.

I hear some version of this at least 5 times a day:

Me: Emma, you promised you would eat your sandwich if I gave you some cheetos.

Emma: But I'm done. Can I have some candy?

Me: You need to eat your sandwich.

Emma: No... I just want some candy.

Me: You can have some after you eat your sandwich.

Emma: If you don't let me have some I'm going to make this face forever.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I'll take the whole store...

The postwoman delivered the newest catalog from PB Teen today... I am ready to redecorate all the bedrooms in my house, plus my sewing room...

I don't even have an i-pod, but I love these speakers disguised as stuffed animals.

What isn't to love about this room... the blue furniture, the red wall, the patchwork bedding, not to mention the chandelier.

I actually am planning to redecorate my quilt studio over the holidays... I may NEED some of these awesome dress forms. I know they don't really work, but they sure are pretty!

Once again, I love the whole room!